Poultry Pot Pie

This may be one of my favorite recipes. I’ve made it so many times over the past six years, which is when I first started making pot pies. And surprise! I’m actually going to share the recipe with you, because it is one I’ve sort of developed on my own. It’s a combination of a number of other recipes, from which I took my favorite things and put them together to make the ultimate go-to recipe.

I call it a poultry pie because I throw whatever I’ve got in there. Chicken, turkey, duck – it’s all good. It’s perfect for using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. In fact, I freeze 2-3 baggies of leftover turkey meat each just to use for meals like this. It’s why I do a 15-pound turkey even when it’s just the three of us for Thanksgiving. Turkey pot pie is perfect for the winter, and it’s meals like this that make me think it wouldn’t be so bad to have longer, colder winters. Fortunately, even warm(ish) Texas winters benefit from the occasional pot pie, so I still don’t have to put up with snow just to satisfy a pot pie craving.

Also, a note about the pie crust: I do a single crust on my pot pies. Double crusts are better, yes, but single crusts are easier and healthier. I don’t do a layer of crust in the pan, just on top of the filling. This makes things a little messier but does not effect taste. Often, I counter the messiness by making individual pot pies, which are much easier to deal with anyway. They’re a cinch to heat up for leftovers, and they freeze fantastically. I usually get 4 6″ ramekins and 2 4″ ramekins (all generously sized) out of one batch. The adults get one of the larger ramekins, and Miss H gets a small one.

Speaking of Miss H, she likes pot pies, for the most part. What she eats depends on her mood. Sometimes the meat, sometime the veggies (but not the mushrooms), sometimes the potatoes, always the pie crust. The recipe I use for the pie crust is one from Julia Child, and it is the best pie crust I have ever had. I’ve been making it for four years, and it’s comes out perfect (almost) every time. The times it has not come out perfect has been from my own error. I love this pie crust. I could eat it by itself. So could Miss H.

Anyway. Pot pie. Here it is. Feel free to play with it. Add onions or celery if you like. Parsnips would be a nice addition. The husband occasionally gets nostalgic for frozen peas. Sometimes I leave out the corn. And I’d really like to try it with sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.

Poultry Pot Pie
6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded cooked poultry
  • 1 disc of uncooked pie dough (~12 ounces)
  1. Heat oven to 400.
  2. In a saucepan, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the potato and carrots and saute until tender.
  3. Stir in the flour until blended. Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer, cooking and stirring for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in corn, cream, and seasonings. Stir in poultry.
  4. Spoon into an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish or into individual ramekins. Roll out pie dough to fit over top of the casserole(s). Place over the filling and trim, seal, and flute edges. Cut slits in pastry to vent. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 45 minutes for a large casserole or 30 minutes for ramekins. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
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Pork & Udon Soup

Every Friday or Saturday, usually as we’re nearing the end of dinner, I say to my husband, “So, what do we want to eat next week?”

It’s a habit of ours to talk about food while we’re eating. It seems an appropriate time.

Often during autumn or winter, my husband will say, “Udon!” Sometimes he says it even during summer, when soup doesn’t always make an appearance on the weekly menu. My response is usually, “I’ll check the weather,” because I prefer a cold evening for udon soup, because it’s a meal that will warm you up and keep you warm for a good long while.

This weekend, we’ve had freezing temperatures, a not-so-common occurrence in our area of Texas, even in winter. My go-to Pork & Udon Soup recipe seemed like a perfect meal to end a cold weekend, especially since we’d be getting back up into more reasonable temperatures in the coming week.

What is Udon? Besides fantastic? Udon is a thick wheat noodle of Japanese origin. And by thick, I mean thick. It’s not like an Italian noodle, or even a ramen noodle. Think much thicker. As a result, it’s doughier and heartier, and it’s delicious. There are a dozen ways to make udon soup, depending on how you flavor it and what you add to it. What I use is a simple recipe that’s overflowing with vegetables and pork. It’s probably not an authentic udon soup – it is Food Network, after all, and though the effort is sometimes there, authenticity doesn’t always follow. But, it is a tasty udon soup recipe, and the pork – while not cha siu levels of delicious – still delivers on taste and is really simple to make.

I will note that I don’t follow the recipe 100%. First, no onions, because we are a no onion household. Second, I use whatever stock I happen to have. This time around, I used three cups of seafood stock and five cups of water. Still tasted fine. Third, I don’t use just soy sauce to add flavor to the broth. I also add toasted sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. I just like the depth they add to the flavor. Makes it a little more interesting. Fourth, I don’t usually bother with the cilantro (because I don’t like it) and the bean sprouts (because they only come in large packages and we don’t need that much of them). Fifth, regular cabbage and mushrooms are fine. No need to get fancy.

This recipe makes a ton of soup. It says 4 servings, but those must be huge servings, because we can get almost twice that much out of a batch. Or maybe we’re just eating smaller servings. Either way, for us, there is more than enough for lunch and dinner leftovers. It’ll keep us warm and full for days.

Udon noodles go into the bowl first and then are topped by ladles of hearty, flavorful broth.

Udon noodles go into the bowl first and then are topped by ladles of hearty, flavorful broth.

A nice big bowl of warming udon soup.

A nice big bowl of warming udon soup.

Sweet Serenity Apple Pie

Source: Oh, how I wish I knew.

You see, many years ago (perhaps not too many, but enough), there was a show named Firefly, and it was a woefully short-lived show. Only 13 episodes. It was a tragedy.

The funny thing is, I didn’t know about Firefly until the follow-up movie Serenity was released and a sushi chef at a fusion restaurant that I frequented suggested that I go and see it. I did. And then I devoured every Firefly scrap I could find. One such scrap was a small collection of recipes inspired by the TV series. And by small, I mean small, maybe 5-6 recipes. All of the recipes came from brief mentions in the show itself. This particular recipe references an episode in which one character uses his windfall to buy a crate of apples to share with his fellow crewmates, a rare and expensive treat for a space-going group of people. What else would you do with an overabundance of apples but make some apple pie?

This was a time period in which I was just discovering that cooking could be enjoyable. I was still a novice in the kitchen, still hesitant to try new and unusual things. I doubt any of those recipes were truly too strange to try, but I can’t say for sure because I don’t remember any of them. Except for this one.

Well, to be completely honest, I only remember the recipe because I wrote it down and shared it in a family cookbook. I’m not even sure if I have the name of the recipe right. I think I do, because it’s what I’ve always called it, but it’s possible that I’ve misremembered it over the years. I first made this pie in 2005/2006. I have the recipe, but I don’t have the original page that I found it on. I’ve looked for it, because the internet never forgets, but I still haven’t found it. Now that I’m not a novice cook anymore, I wonder about those other recipes.

Because I LOVE Firefly/Serenity. I don’t tend to geek out too much, but there are two things that bring out the rabid geek in me: Firefly and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Combining them with my love of cooking isn’t easy to do, so I cherish this one recipe.

It helps that this pie is absolutely delicious.

I was not a big fan of apple pies before I found this recipe. I didn’t realize that apple pies did not have to be double-crusted. I didn’t know about crumble toppings. Making a double-crust apple pie seemed like far more work than I was capable of at the time. I was a newbie, and making an apple pie – a pie of any sort, really – seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. But this is a simple recipe, and I thought I could do it.

And I did do it. And it was delicious. I love it. I still don’t make apple pies very often, but this is my go-to apple pie recipe. Nothing beats it, for me anyway.

Apple slices piled up on apple slices. A thickened simple syrup turned deep brown by ground cinnamon. A soft crumble topping with just enough sweetness. It’s a simple pie that satisfies any apple pie craving I’ve ever had. It’s also very simple to make, especially if you use a storebought pie crust.

I don’t often share recipes on my blog because I don’t develop my own. I take other people’s genius and see what I can do with it. But because I legitimately cannot find a link for this recipe, I’m going to post it here, because I don’t think it’s fair to talk about how awesome something is and then not provide a way to make it happen for people who might be interested in it.

So, here you go.

 

Sweet Serenity Apple Pie

for the pie:
1 9″ pie shell, pre-cooked
2-3 apples of your choice (I usually use Gala because that’s what I have)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

for the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter, softened

Peel, core, and slice the apples thinly. Place in the pie shell, layering until all slices are used and the shell is full.

Combine sugar, water, cinnamon, and cornstarch in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and allow to cook down until thick, between 5-10 minutes. Pour evenly over the apples.

For the topping, combine the sugar, flour, and butter until crumbly. I just use my fingers to rub in the butter and get the consistency I want. It should be clumpy and not too sticky. Cover the pie with pieces of the crumb mixture. It will be a bit patchy, but that’s okay. It looks really nice with glimpses of the reddish filling peeking through the browned topping.

Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes, until the topping is just lightly browned. Set aside to cool completely. The pie is just fine on its own, but it would also be terrific with some vanilla ice cream or slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms in Cream

Source: The Kitchn (How to Make Roasted Pork Tenderloin)

Sometimes, simple is best, and this is very simple. We do pork tenderloin every once in a while, and this is generally how I cook. Seasoning can be as simple as just salt, pepper, and garlic granules. It’s really good with some Dijon mustard rubbed into it, especially if it’s left to marinate for a while. This time, I didn’t have any mustard, so I added some Worcestershire sauce. And too much salt. I also overcooked it a little. Oops. Can’t be perfect all the time.

I served this with some leftover mashed potatoes that had been made with all sorts of delicious and fattening things: butter, milk, and cream cheese. Probably also a splash of heavy cream, but I really can’t remember. I don’t usually add heavy cream to my mashed potatoes, so maybe not.

Heavy cream definitely went in with the mushrooms though. This pork tenderloin benefits a lot from a little sauce, and I had a feeling that the mashed potatoes would too. So while sautéeing the mushrooms, I added a splash of red wine and let them simmer in that for a few minutes. Then I added a half-cup of heavy cream and let that thicken up a bit. It did not get as thick as I would have liked, but it was too late to add flour, and I was out of Wondra. So the “sauce” wasn’t very sauce-like, but it went well with the potatoes and added a nice creaminess to the mushrooms and the meat.

The toddler does not like mashed potatoes, but she ate a few bites with the sauce. She used to love mushrooms, but that is so 2014 and she doesn’t eat them anymore. The pork she will dig into if she has ketchup to go along with it. Ketchup would not be my first choice for this pork, but I’m an adult so what do I know.

Rating: 4 stars. This is not a remarkable dish, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a fairly simple weeknight meal. Pork tenderloin goes a long way, and it’s very easy to cook, which is why I like it for weeknights. Also, the toddler likes it, so that’s a bonus. The mushrooms weren’t quite as I wanted them, but they were still a very nice addition on the plate. And the mashed potatoes were leftovers from a previous night, but that just means they didn’t go to waste.

Would I make it again? This is my go-to recipe for pork tenderloin, so yes I would. Not sure I would do the mushrooms quite the same way, but it’s something I’d play a little with to see what works best for us. Mashed potatoes are like a blank canvas for me – I use whatever I have around, be it cream or random cheeses or cream cheese or even buttermilk. Whatever works. All three of these components work together, but they’d work with other foods too. Which is why simple is such a good thing.